Younger wife + older husband with kids = trouble

Dear readers,
Happy 2019. A continuing theme here is the dilemma that occurs when your partner has been married before and already has children. In many cases, they don’t want to have any more. That was my story. So where does that leave you? In response to a comment on my October post on the subject, “Younger Wives, Older Husbands, No Babies,” I received this comment from NH. I want to share it with you and get your reactions.
MDOE37 said: Song and verse….second marriage for both, he was 6 years older with custody of a 13-year-old son. Decided a couple years into the marriage that he was done. Raise mine, none for you.

NH responded:

Interesting. I’m in a similar position. Second marriage for both. He is 50, I’m 43. He has three kids from a previous marriage (12, 17, 20), I’m childless NOT by choice. First husband didn’t want them. Made damn sure I would never get pregnant. It was awful. Fast forward 15 years and now I’m remarried. He’s a wonderful man. Initially, he did not want kids and told me so while dating. At that time, I was still brainwashed into thinking I would be a terrible mom anyway (and I was 38), so I didn’t think twice when he asked me to marry him.

Turns out I’m a great momma, even better than Bio Mom (say the 12- and 17-year-olds, plus Dad). The 20-year-old hates me, because Mom has made up all kinds of lies to cover her mistakes. Bio Mom cheated on Dad, many times. Dad had enough and filed for divorce. She didn’t want the kids to find out so brainwashed them into crazy stories, INCLUDING telling them I caused their divorce even though I wasn’t in their life until years later. She was so convincing it took the youngest until this year to realize the timelines didn’t add up. Not joking. Two weeks ago, she told us that of all her friends with divorced parents, she has the most awesome stepmom and a dad that is still around and loves them. She said her mom is the problem. She sees, and doesn’t like what she sees. Eldest still believes the mom, and is pretty mean to the younger two if they don’t fall in line with her lies.

Anyway, my desire to have children kicked into overdrive once I realized I didn’t suck and got closer with the children. DH conceded. We went to a lecture for older adults about fertility. Spoke for 15 minutes with a doctor who told us IVF was the only way. Possibly donor eggs/sperm. That scared the husband, and now he doesn’t want kids anymore. He’s worried about my health, as I’m older, and worried he’ll have a nervous breakdown dealing with his ex, current kids and a new baby. Especially a baby that isn’t his and can’t guarantee if they’ll be healthy because the genetics are not ours. At one point, he told me he loved me so much that he thought we should get divorced so that I could go have a baby on my own, or with a younger man. I lost it.

THAT, on top of the grief and insane depression I’ve had over not being a mother, just crushed me. I went from being really sad, to really sad and angry. I know a lot of it is tied to my first husband and the mind games he used to pull on this subject. I’ve been in therapy and started taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. I was a healthy, thriving, happy single person until coming into this life. I fell in love with someone who does love me, and wants to take care of me for the long haul . . . but he comes with all this baggage (much of which I’m not sharing here). A lot of this came out after we got married, and if I say anything to anyone their first comment is “you should have known.” Ummm, I’m not able to predict the future so how would I have known?

I’ve never married a guy with kids before. Waited a year into our relationship before meeting the kids because I wanted to be sure it was for real. They were very pleasant, until we got engaged. Once the ex found out we were serious, she got to work trying to wreck our relationship, and ruin me. At that time, we had moved in together, were building a house and planning to get married. OMG! Never had to deal with a high conflict ex, never moved somewhere because someone else made the decision and we just had to follow. Lots of “nevers,” and it’s been really hard. He promised me it would get better, and we have made progress, but I think all the bad stuff, and the hormones, and the depression/anxiety have just broken me. I’ve lost myself, feel completely mental, and am so far away from friends and family. I’m alone. There is no one to give me a hug if I’m sad (my husband travels a lot). Now, I feel like I’m giving up my chance to have children.

These kids will never have a mother/child relationship with me. They are grateful I’ve taught them so many things their mother hasn’t (well, the younger two), but they’ll always be terrified to show their appreciation because of how Mom will behave if she finds out. Eldest is a tattletale, Mom’s spy. She should be in college, elsewhere, but dropped out. Things were getting so much better, and now are reverting because she moved back home. I’m the evil step-mom again because eldest says so, so my depression is getting worse. My anger is getting worse. I feel like I don’t have any control over my own life. I can’t even control my professional life, because we live in the sticks (not by choice . . . because Mom ran off her with the kids and he followed), so there are no jobs in my field. Thankfully, I was able to obtain a work-from-home position, but it’s entry level and I’m an executive. I have always made things work, my entire life. Adjusted to whatever situation I was in to make it work. This is the first time I feel like I’m constantly fighting to make it work, and it’s not.

In short, I don’t know if LOVE is enough. He is a strong, caring, kind, funny, provider. I love him dearly. He tells me they consider me family, and everyone really does care about me. I do not love dealing with the baggage and how he has chosen not to stand up to his ex’s dumb decisions. My mother-in-law told me he never would AFTER we got married, and said “good luck dealing with that evil B****” . . . and laughed. If I ever complained about not having kids or what I had to deal with, she would just say “You knew, and is nothing ever good enough for you? Can’t you just be happy with my grandkids?” What? Has a childless women EVER received that comment from their MIL before?

I wish I knew how crazy the ex was before we were married. I wish I knew my MIL wasn’t really the funny, kind person she portrayed. I wish I knew I wouldn’t be strong enough to deal with it all, and how it would change me.

Now, I feel broken. My anger towards dealing with all of this pain has turned me into a very unhappy, negative person. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I don’t even know how to look at my days in a positive light. It’s just all gray and cloudy. I didn’t know trying to be a decent stepparent would mean I would get treated like crap for years. I feel lied to and taken advantage of, and now cash-strapped because I’ve paid for so much in this household it’s not even funny. No, we don’t share financial accounts. We’ve dealt with too many court/money situations and I don’t want his ex knowing what I do, how much I make and how much I have saved. It’s none of her business. She’s constantly having the kids ask me how much I make. Awesome, huh?

Guess I should have done my research. Now I feel really ignorant. The honeymoon has worn off and we’ve only been together five years, married for three. I’ve heard it takes seven to work out most of the kinks. I don’t know if I can make it to seven years at this rate. But then, I’ll feel like a failure. Divorced again because I made a bad decision and didn’t know what this life would be like.

Does anyone have any advice? Is this what it is like? Does it get better? How do you stay sane when you don’t have a support network near you?

Please help.

Thank you, and terribly sorry for the long note. I happened to stumble across this and felt connected in some way, I guess.

So there it is. Heartbreaking. What advice do you have for NH? Does her story strike familiar chords with you? Please comment. 





4 thoughts on “Younger wife + older husband with kids = trouble

  1. This must be a difficult situation for you, and for that I am sorry. I will add my opinion, only because at the end you asked for advice. Basically, I don’t know all the answers, and I’m just throwing out a different point of view.

    Let me begin by saying that the 20-year old should know better. They are not a child. They should be mature enough to open their eyes. That’s all I’ll say about that.

    But, as a 30-something who is child-free, but open to the idea, let me tell you what keeps me hopeful and calm 🙂 Lisa Loeb, one of my favorite singers, had her second at 44 years old. If you Google “women who gave birth over 40,” you’ll find several women with different stories (many of them natural, non-IVF, btw).

    And although it’s a funny show, “Adam Ruins Everything” did a video about giving birth over 35. Long story short, the data is not exactly up-to-date. The episode is up on YouTube called “Adam Ruins Everything – You Can Still Have Babies After 35 | truTV”. It’s a 5-minute starting point if you’d like to research more.

    So, I hope my point of view offers some insight, hope, or just a different angle.

    Take good care, my friend,


  2. I felt as though someone were telling my story while reading your post. So many similarities between our situations. I have two stepkids who “like” me but will never be close due to all the bad things their mother says about me. So much drama dealing with the ex. I too wish I had known it was going to be like this. I too am not sure love is enough. I’m only three years in, two married and can’t fathom living this way forever. My relationship with my husband has suffered because he feels he has to make up for their crazy mother whenever they are around, and I am completely forgotten. I too wanted a child, but he was adamant he was not having any more. I feel a ton of resentment for this. I feel like I have given up so much for him and his children. I moved across the country where I have no friends and no family, quit my job and live a half mile away from the crazy ex. All because that was what was good for him and his kids, but he’s not willing to sacrifice for me to have a child I’ve desperately wanted. My age probably wouldn’t even allow it to come to fruition, but I at least wanted to try and I wanted a partner who placed value in my desires in life. So I have no great advice, but I’m hoping someone will post some for both of us. I’m to the point where it’s too much to deal with and I’m ready to walk away.


  3. Hi,

    Super late response, but this topic really touches home for me. With a 20-year age gap between my partner and me, we have definitely encountered these situations: ex-wife issues, crazy court battles, indifference from stepchildren and my own fertility. While I am now encountering different issues at this stage in our life, I can relate.

    Both of us changed our minds on having kids. When we dated, I didn’t want them; he thought we would make beautiful babies. As our relationship grew, I thought maybe I could change my mind (and needed to decide based on my biological clock) which is when he made it clear he did not want to have anymore kids. This is a tough pill. My only advice on this is to really do a deep dive on what it is you want out of YOUR life. After some soul searching, I had learned to accept that if I chose to love this man – whom I loved so much – it meant not having any kids (adoption, fostering, childbirth). It was my decision/choice, and that really helps in the toughest moments.

    With respect to the stepchildren, I had to set my limits – how much of me would I give. With children, it can be so natural to want to give them the best in life. After years of not receiving Thank You’s for (pretty awesome) gifts, I had to rein it in. This on top of him losing his job (twice), paying all the bills, steep legal fees in court battling with bio mom, I felt like I was being taken advantage of. I also thought about walking away. Often. I can’t tell you what to do in your situation, but I stuck it out, with parameters that helped me feel more in control of my life. Depression is real. Listen to your gut.

    These days, I’m confronted with the loneliness of being a non-parent, my sister and friends having babies and getting left out because I don’t have kids (even though I invite all the kids when I host our get-togethers). Realizing that moms need other moms is what made me reconnect with this page – which in the past has helped me get over humps in my personal life.

    There will be new challenges, but if you can face them together, or with a supportive network, you will be stronger for it. After 10+ years together, fighting for one another and loving one another, my partner and I will be saying “I do” – another thing I thought I would never do! Attendance will be adults-only.


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